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Laithwaite's appoints former Carphone Warehouse boss as managing director

Published:  01 May, 2014

Laithwaite's has appointed former Talk Talk and Carphone Warehouse boss David Thatcher as its UK managing director.

Thatcher took up the position in April, replacing Glenn Caton, who resigned from the role in July 2013. Caton, who headed up Laithwaite's in the UK for two years, was later appointed to confectionery and food giant, Mondel?z International as category director for UK and Ireland.

Thatcher has worked in TV and communications for the last number of years, and owns his own company Shed6, which consults to global TV firms. Prior to that he had a year-long stint heading up Irish telecommunications firm Eircom, and also managed Pay TV business Top Up TV for three years. He was chief executive at Talk Talk/Carphone Warehouse from February 2006 to February 2008 and was responsible for the home telephone and broadband ISP, TalkTalk, and the integration of Onetel. During his time there he launched free broadband and grew the company to over a million broadband customers.

On his LinkedIn page he describes himself as a "highly experienced general manager with nearly 30 years experience in subscription based businesses, including Pay TV and triple/quad play environments". He says he has experience in sales, marketing, customer services and operations as well as "extensive capability in fast growth environments, large corporates, including significant turnaround expertise, and VC funded start ups".

Simon McMurtrie, Direct Wines' group chief executive, said: "David Thatcher brings to Laithwaite's an outstanding track record of delivering business success. David is a strong leader of people and businesses, especially in the intersection of consumer products, retail, multi-channel and subscription. We are excited about David joining Laithwaite's at such an important moment in the development of our UK business."


Laithwaite's is a family-founded firm, started by Tony Laithwaite in 1969.

Back in January, McMurtrie told that the groups was course to hit its annual financial targets after a strong Christmas performance, particularly online. The company's latest results, for the year to June 29, 2012, showed a slump in profits as it invested in overseas expansion and software while domestic sales dipped. Sales in the UK fell by 2.4% to £244.7 million.

In November 2013, Direct Wines sold off its online Virgin Wines business in a management led buyout for £14 million.

Direct Wines is a family-owned wine merchant with annual sales of around £350 million. It has several wine businesses including Laithwaite's Wine, Avery's, WSJ wine from the Wall Street Journal (US) and the Sunday Times Wine Club (UK).  The group employs 1000 people in the US, UK, Australia, continental Europe and India.